Thursday, December 29, 2011

Environmental Benefits of Grass Fed Beef Farming

What if there was a way you could contribute to saving the environment just by making a conscious decision in your choice of beef? This is a personal satisfaction experienced by those who choose grass fed beef.

There are several benefits which grass feeding of cows has on the environment, and when compared to the environmental damage that occurs when cows are raised on a feed lot, the choice is not a difficult one to make.

Grass Fed Beef Helps Keep Water Clean

The manure from cows is rich and when properly managed, can lead to greater biodiversity in the water. The problem stems from when that manure is not well managed as is the case with feed lot beef. When it comes to water pollution, these are the common problems with feed lot beef:

The antibiotics that are fed to feed lot beef pass into the manure unchanged.Because the manure is so much and so heavy, it is often just dumped on soil in the nearest field.The excess manure causes erosion and the top soil is washed away (which is another problem on its own).This manure that is washed away with the top soil often ends up in the water supply and pollutes it, killing the fish, destroying the biodiversity and making the water unhealthy.

Grass feeding, through rotational grazing ensures that the manure is evenly distributed through the soil and is used to ensure the healthy growth of pasture plants. In addition, grass fed beef do not need antibiotics so their manure is free from that. There is no instance of excess manure and the problem of erosion as a result, does not exist.

Grass Fed Beef Can Improve the Quality of the Soil

Soil quality is important to farmers and years of farming have degraded the soil quality in parts of the United States. Grazing has been a traditional means of restoring degraded land. Recent studies have shown that not only do grass fed beef help in restoring soil quality, but they could also potentially contribute to bringing down greenhouse gasses by removing them from the atmosphere and trapping them in the soil where they can contribute to plant growth.

Grass Fed Beef Can Reduce Greenhouse Gasses

Generally, raising cows has been associated with the release of greenhouse gasses into the environment. Methane gas is a green house gas which is belched up by ruminants when they are digesting their food. Methane gas contributes to global warming. When grazing is properly managed it could potentially draw the gasses from the air into the soil to stimulate plant growth. Feedlots have no plants growing in them with just dirt.

Methane gas is not the only form of greenhouse emission that is associated with raising cows, there is also carbon dioxide. However, the growth of plant for grazing helps to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store in the soil.

When cows have been grass fed, it helps to reduce the impact of beef production on global warming.

The environmental benefits of grass fed beef are numerous. In addition to those listed above, grass fed beef keeps the air free from the air pollution which feed lot beef is known for. Eating grass fed beef is a way to keep you and the earth healthy.

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